Major incident declared after huge chemical tank explosion at sewage works in Bristol

A helicopter was today deployed to search for missing people after a huge chemical tank exploded at a sewage works in Bristol.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service said there has been a number of ‘casualties’ following the ‘serious incident’ at Wessex Water’s water recycling centre in Avonmouth.

One witness also reported there was a ‘helicopter looking for missing people’ after the explosion.

The Avonmouth site is Wessex Water’s largest sewage treatment works, which serves the Bristol area.

Police said a major incident was declared and a rescue operation was launched by the fire service after the explosion around 11am led to a ‘number of casualties’ at the industrial area on King Weston Lane.

A major explosion at a Wessex Water sewage treatment plant near Bristol has left several people injured, emergency services have said

A major explosion at a Wessex Water sewage treatment plant near Bristol has left several people injured, emergency services have said

A major explosion at a Wessex Water sewage treatment plant near Bristol has left several people injured, emergency services have said

A rescue operation was launched by the fire service, involving five appliances and two turntable crews  as emergency servuces confirmed there have been a number of casualties

A rescue operation was launched by the fire service, involving five appliances and two turntable crews  as emergency servuces confirmed there have been a number of casualties

A rescue operation was launched by the fire service, involving five appliances and two turntable crews  as emergency servuces confirmed there have been a number of casualties

Pictured from the scene appear to show extensive damage to a tank that has been ripped open by the explosion

Pictured from the scene appear to show extensive damage to a tank that has been ripped open by the explosion

Pictured from the scene appear to show extensive damage to a tank that has been ripped open by the explosion

A witness said there was a 'helicopter looking for missing people' and police had closed a nearby road leading up to the building

A witness said there was a 'helicopter looking for missing people' and police had closed a nearby road leading up to the building

A witness said there was a ‘helicopter looking for missing people’ and police had closed a nearby road leading up to the building

Chief Inspector Mark Runacres said: ‘Officers remain at the scene and are likely to be for some time as we work together with other agencies in dealing with this major incident.

‘A cordon has been set up and we’d advise members of the public to avoid the area at this time where possible to allow the emergency services to carry out their work.

‘Police enquiries into exactly what happened are at a very early stage and are continuing.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel was ‘deeply concerned’, adding: ‘My thoughts are with those affected and our brave emergency services working hard to resolve this incident.’

An exploded oxygen tank has been suggested as one possible cause at the scene, but this is unconfirmed.

Witnesses reported a ‘loud bang’ while others recalled seeing emergency services rushing to the warehouse.

The major explosion at a warehouse near Bristol (pictured) has left several people injured, emergency services said

The major explosion at a warehouse near Bristol (pictured) has left several people injured, emergency services said

The major explosion at a warehouse near Bristol (pictured) has left several people injured, emergency services said

Emergency services are at the scene of a large explosion at a warehouse near the recycling facility and water treatment works at Avonmouth

Emergency services are at the scene of a large explosion at a warehouse near the recycling facility and water treatment works at Avonmouth

 Emergency services are at the scene of a large explosion at a warehouse near the recycling facility and water treatment works at Avonmouth

A road leading to the industrial area has been closed off as emergecy vehicles attend the scene

A road leading to the industrial area has been closed off as emergecy vehicles attend the scene

A road leading to the industrial area has been closed off as emergecy vehicles attend the scene

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was 'deeply concerned' at news of the explosion

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was 'deeply concerned' at news of the explosion

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was ‘deeply concerned’ at news of the explosion

The incident happened at the recycling facility and water treatment works at Avonmouth

The incident happened at the recycling facility and water treatment works at Avonmouth

The incident happened at the recycling facility and water treatment works at Avonmouth

Pictured: The damage to the chemical tank at the Wessex Water sewage treatment plant

Pictured: The damage to the chemical tank at the Wessex Water sewage treatment plant

Pictured: The damage to the chemical tank at the Wessex Water sewage treatment plant 

Police have closed the road leading up to the scene - an industrial area on the outskirts of Bristol

Police have closed the road leading up to the scene - an industrial area on the outskirts of Bristol

Police have closed the road leading up to the scene – an industrial area on the outskirts of Bristol

One said they saw ‘at least ten ambulances’ along with police and fire crews heading to the scene, reports Bristol Live.

Witness Jawad Burhan took a photo showing a tank that had exploded and said there was a ‘helicopter looking for missing people’ and police had closed a nearby road.

He said: ‘I heard the sound, I’m working beside the building in another warehouse. After ten minutes I saw the helicopter coming and the police.’

A statement from Avon and Somerset  Police said: ‘A major incident has been declared following a large explosion at a site in Avonmouth.

‘The fire service, police and ambulance service were called at approximately 11.20am this morning (Wednesday 3 December) to a site off Kings Weston Lane.

‘An explosion is believed to have occurred involving one of the chemical tanks at Wessex Water’s Bristol water recycling centre.

‘A rescue operation was subsequently led by the fire service, involving five appliances and two turntable crews and we can confirm there have been a number of casualties.

‘A full investigation into the incident will be conducted.’

Crews from five different fire services were in attendance at the scene after the 11.20am blast

Crews from five different fire services were in attendance at the scene after the 11.20am blast

Crews from five different fire services were in attendance at the scene after the 11.20am blast

The exposion is understood to have taken place in an industrial area on the outskirts of Bristol

The exposion is understood to have taken place in an industrial area on the outskirts of Bristol

The exposion is understood to have taken place in an industrial area on the outskirts of Bristol

Avon Fire and Rescue Service says there has been a number of 'casulties' following the 'serious incident' in the Avonmouth area near Bristol

Avon Fire and Rescue Service says there has been a number of 'casulties' following the 'serious incident' in the Avonmouth area near Bristol

Avon Fire and Rescue Service says there has been a number of ‘casulties’ following the ‘serious incident’ in the Avonmouth area near Bristol

The fire service was called at 11.22am and has confirmed there have been ‘casualties’ as a result of the incident.

A fire service statement added: ‘We were called at 11.22am to reports of a large explosion in a warehouse on Kings Weston Lane, Avonmouth.

‘Crews from Avonmouth, Southmead, Yate, Patchway, Hicks Gate, Kingswood, Weston-super-Mare and Temple were mobilised and attended the incident. 

Fires from the scene of the explosion (pictured on a Highways England Traffic camera) which took place this morning around 11am on King Weston Lane have been put out, said a fire service spokesperson

Fires from the scene of the explosion (pictured on a Highways England Traffic camera) which took place this morning around 11am on King Weston Lane have been put out, said a fire service spokesperson

Fires from the scene of the explosion (pictured on a Highways England Traffic camera) which took place this morning around 11am on King Weston Lane have been put out, said a fire service spokesperson

Crews from six different fire stations have been sent to the scene of the major explosion

Crews from six different fire stations have been sent to the scene of the major explosion

Crews from six different fire stations have been sent to the scene of the major explosion

‘We were joined at the scene by our police and ambulance colleagues and have now handed over the incident to the police and continue to support our multi-agency partners.’

The fire service said they were aware of ‘casualties’ but could not say how many people had been injured in the incident.

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service added: ‘South Western Ambulance Service is responding to a serious incident at premises on King’s Weston Lane, Avonmouth, Bristol.

‘We sent multiple resources to the scene, including land air and other specialist paramedic teams.

Bristol Waste, which run the nearby Avonmouth recycling centre, tweeted that it had closed the site temporarily.

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